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Re: Is amsat-bb fun for anyone?

Now wait a minute!  You just made a negative statement complaining about all
of the negativity!

73s John AA5JG

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Vandewettering" <kf6kyi@gmail.com>
To: "AMSAT-BB bb" <amsat-bb@amsat.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:49 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Is amsat-bb fun for anyone?

> Honestly, I'm completely disgusted with amsat-bb.  Is anyone having
> any fun at all out there?  You people seem resolutely determined to
> complain about the current state of amateur satellites, without
> provocation, and with no idea of how fix anything.  Or even any idea
> how to have fun using what few satellites we do have.  If someone were
> interested in getting into satellite operation on VO-52 or even AO-51,
> I'd actively _discourage_ them from joining this cesspool of negativity.
> And less the AMSAT-NA think I'm giving them a pass, what the hell is
> up with you people?  The store, down for months.  Consistently out of
> date info on the website.  Promises that updates will be made via the
> Amsat Journal or at conferences.  EARTH TO AMSAT BOARD: THIS IS THE
> AGE OF THE INTERNET.  It isn't good enough to publish summary
> information on paper a couple of times a year.  People are frustrated
> because to all appearances, you aren't being honest with them, and you
> certainly aren't being timely.
> I even tried joining the namaste-dev list to combat the lack of any
> serious, technically relevant development going on, to see if a
> skilled programmer like myself could reasonably contribute anything to
> the ongoing efforts.   I lurked for a month or two, and what I
> observed did not thrill me with confidence.  I see a group mired in
> requirements negotiation, bickering, and in the last few weeks,
> completely imploding.
> Bleh.
> Okay, that's enough complaining.  Here is some food for thought:
> 1. It seems to me that the groundstation development is completely
> turned on its head.  The goal is to create a ground station design
> which is both a) reasonably inexpensive and b) reproducible enough to
> be constructed by large numbers of hams.  So, begin there by actually
> (and this will seem really radical) DESIGNING AND BUILDING SOME
> HARDWARE.  It seems to me that the majority of the design is actually
> software.  Software is difficult to design, but has a number of other
> offsetting qualities. It's easy to modify and cheap to redistribute,
> so it makes some sense to pursue it later.    Additionally, it allows
> the hardware design to be picked up and extended by others with
> parallel interest, gaining momentum from them.  Perhaps the TAPR
> software defined radio platform with suitable up/down converters is a
> good place to start.  Or GNU radio.   So, let's get those into the
> hands of several hundred hams, and start working.  Volunteers don't
> work well in the abstract in my experience, so let's make the
> development process as concrete as possible to get them involved.
> Let's work to get costs down.  Let's get basic software freely
> available under open source.   Leverage work from VHF, microwave and
> packet groups.   If we can't do everything, then let's at least do
> something.
> 2. Milestones.  We need tangible milestones.  It's far easier to find
> the status of Kiwisat (very cool, incidently) than it is for Eagle.
> In part this is because the kiwisat team seems to take their
> contributors seriously, and likes to keep them informed to keep morale
> high and to show progress.  What milestones have been passed in the
> Eagle design and construction?  Can anyone find that out without
> knowing somebody personally?
> 3. We've received notice from AMSAT-DL that they don't have enough
> money to launch P3E.  Well, how much do they need?  How much are they
> short?  If they are off by 20%, or even 50%, then I suspect
> fundraising could conceivably close that gap.  If they are off by 80%,
> then I think we have to honestly admit that until competition makes
> boosts to HEO more economical, we've been priced out of the game for
> now.   That'd be a tough thing to swallow, but pretending that we are
> going to have launch opportunities which do not exist isn't improving
> anyone's morale, especially as years go by and nothing gets done.
> 4. AMSAT needs to find some good volunteers, and importantly, it needs
> to reject some bad volunteers.  Not everyone who offers to help is
> helping.  On the other hand, not all criticism is complaining.
> Okay, I'm late for my day job.  I haven't been licensed for 40 years,
> so I still have one.
> Mark KF6KYI
> _______________________________________________
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Sent via AMSAT-BB@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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